Essential Guide for Migrating Your Site from HTTP to HTTPS
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is a secured version of HTTP. Web browsers with HTTPs encryption will encrypt the sessions using a SSL (Secured Sockets Layer) certificate. They provide a secure environment for users and servers to exchange data with each other without being intercepted.
HTTPS adds upon an extra layer of security for exchange of data between a web browser and a server. It is represented by a green padlock symbol, green address bar and as in most cases – the legal entity details of the website owner too.
How different is it from HTTP?
HTTP and HTTPS are basically one and the same. The only difference is that HTTPS comes with with TLS (Transport Layer Security) or SSL Encryption.
HTTPs also does away with a large number of deficiencies that undermined network performance in HTTP connections. Migrating to HTTPS will reward businesses with a host of technical and business merits.
The Business Merits of Migrating to HTTPS
- BOOSTS CUSTOMER TRUST
Theft of credit card information, private account details leakage, unauthorized transactions are some of the fears that keeps a portion of the world population from using eCommerce. HTTPS boosts customer confidence by assuring them that the website that they are dealing with is indeed a real entity with verified background.
- A FUTURE EMBRACING NET CITIZEN
For eCommerce website owners and online stores, HTTPS is the stone to becoming a member of the elite group of secured websites. It portrays them as a future embracing netizen who puts the privacy and confidentiality of user information ahead of everything else.
- HIGHER SEARCH ENGINE RANKING
Google had hinted in its 2014 I/O Conference that HTTPS will be included in its search engine algorithm as a vital search engine ranking signal. Website security will also be taken into account in addition to several other ranking factors. Experts estimates HTTPS encryption using SSL certificates to reward eCommerce stores with higher search engine ranking.
- IMPROVES BRAND IMAGE
Extended Validation SSL certificates highlight the business owner’s name in green. The certificate contains public information like the owner name, location and certificate details. This is a great boost to the brand image of a website which wants to ensure that users deal directly with it alone.
Technical Benefits of Migrating to HTTPS
While SSL certificates bestow a variety of business benefits, it is not too behind in delivering high on technical benefits either.
- PREVENTS DDoS
Distributed Denial of Service is a popular way of attacking and crashing eCommerce stores. The hacker attempts to inject the network with a malicious virus which sends numerous requests beyond the capacity of the server. When the server crashes, the hacker enters the system to steal vital information that is stored. SSL certificates help prevent DDoS attacks by regulating the flow of traffic between the user browser and server through encryption.
- PCI COMPLIANCE
Payment Card Industry has laid down elaborate rules to be complied by every business entity that engages in collecting, processing or transmitting credit card information of users. Depending on the number of transactions, the security procedures vary in number and type. SSL encryption is one of the fundamental requirements for PCI Compliance. PCI Compliance establishes website security and also helps boost customer trust in the website.
- IMPROVES PAGE LOADING SPEED
The last leg of SSl configuration requires website owners to test and retest their page loading speed. Unnecessary settings and extensions that are bogging down page loading speed are weeded out resulting in improved page loading speed.
Step-by-step Process for HTTPS Migration
Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS is easily said than done. It is a bit complex process, but one which is critical for eCommerce security.
We have broken down the step-by-step procedure so that you don’t have to feel lost when it is time to configure a SSL certificate.
- BUY SSL CERTIFICATE
A SSl certificate can be purchased only from a Certificate Authority. You have to submit a Certificate Service Request (CSR) to the CA to purchase a SSl certificate. Depending on the level of validation sought for, the SSl certificate will be issued immediately or within a period of 2-3 days.
- UPDATE CMS
After buying the SSL certificate, update your CMS for the SSL encryption to take effect. Update all internal links to point towards the new HTTPS page. You ma also make the internal links relative in order to make the redirecting easier. Don’t forget to update canonical tags, plug-ins, add-ons, hreflang tags, etc. which are using the older HTTP.
- INSTALL A NEW ROBOTS.TXT
A Robots.txt file is what enables search engines to crawl the website and find areas where information is to be found or ignored. It highlights the most pivotal website areas for keywords and search engine optimization. Install a new robots.txt for the upgraded HTTPS so that search engine bots can follow the sitemap easily and quickly.
- UPDATE SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Inform Google of the change in site address (from HTTP to HTTPS) using the Google’s change of address tool. Also, update all social media sharing buttons or blog feeds so that their previous count is preserved intact even after HTTPS migration. Update the same URL in Google Analytics too so that you are able to get the traffic feed based on the HTTPS URL.
- TEST THE UPGRADED WEBSITE
Post installation and configuration, test the website for any content which is not secure. There are several free tools available online for doing that. Recheck the website loading speed. Some of the settings could have possibly slowed down the website loading speed. The loading speed can be improved by tweaking the settings of your CMS.
All Set to Migrate to HTTPS?
Now that SSL has become a cornerstone for the future of web technology, waste no time in migrating to it when things are less complex. Consider moving your site from HTTP to HTTPS in sections, so that you are able to follow a uniform and consistent process. It will ensure that you are not missing out on any crucial step that can affect the security, search engine ranking or page loading speed of the site.
If you have queries or suggestions on the above, feel free to get in touch with us.